But you can't start creating a comic
until you have something you want to write about.
First consider, do you want to write
a script that's purely entertainment, or do you have some serious
thoughts, and or, knowledge you want to share with the world?
Maybe you want to blend your preaching with your entertainment.
Whatever your goal, you always have to start with...
I can't exactly recall when, but in the early half of 2008 an
old lady came into the shop where I was working. She showed
me a birthday card that she had bought and was planning on giving
to her granddaughter. She then went on to tell me a poem that
she had written, which she intended to put inside the card.
I told her it reminded me of Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky."
Then to my surprise she began reciting the Jabberwocky. I thought
about how my generation relates so much to Alice in Wonderland,
and despite the book being over 100 years old, I had not thought
about it as being something that older people would enjoy, and
it really shocked me to hear this surreal poem coming from her
lips. I imagined her as a little girl, some 70 years beforehand,
and I realized that the poem was just as fresh today as it had
been back then. It was as timeless and youthful as the lady
herself. To quote Mark Twain, "Age is mind over Matter,
if you don't mind, it doesn't matter." - By the way, this
doesn't mean I have a thing for 80 year old women. I'm a happily
married man. :)
Around the same time that this happened
I had been putting together a mix of rock music, and thinking
about what rock music actually was. Or whether it made any difference
if you added a, “roll” after it or added words like
“grunge,” “glam” or “psychedelic”
before it, and although I was very aware of all the changes
that it had been through over the years, I came to the conclusion
that in the end, it all meant the same thing. A rock song from
1955 had the same spirit and energy as a rock song from 2008.
Rock’n’roll, no matter where, when or how, is about
youth and energy, and that spirit can be with you no matter
how old you are. And so I created Anny, a 60 year old lady,
who has been trapped inside a teenage girls body ever since
the dawn of rock’n’roll. She’s my way of representing
that energy in a visual manifestation… with weird hair.
I went back to an old idea I had
doodled in a sketchbook, about a vampire girl who thought that
drinking blood was gross, but decided I would attach an obsession
with rock'n'roll to her. She then suddenly stopped moaning about
drinking blood. Her predicament now, was that she loved humans
so much that she just couldn’t bring herself round to
hurting them. It was humans, after all, that had written all
her favourite songs. I wanted her to look cute and youthful,
but not soft. The first thing that came to mind was Sonic the
Hedgehog, so the spikes were born. She also needed a look that
was simple and iconic, so I looked to the biggest cartoon icon
in history and based her features and colours on Mickey Mouse.
The two circular pigtails were inspired by his ears.
When I put together Annyseed's world I just went with
feelings, I thought about fictional worlds that I would like
to visit and spend some time in. Ones that were fun and pleasant,
but had a little threat too. I drew inspiration from Jim Henson's
"Labyrinth" and "Fraggle Rock," Jeff Smith's
"Bone," Tor Jansson’s "Moomins" J.K
Rowling's "Harry Potter," and Lewis Carroll's "Alice
in Wonderland" to name a few of the more prominent ones.
Nothing should ever be directly taken from someone else’s
work by the way, that’s a real shit thing to do. It’s
all about emotional value, not content. Taking content is stealing.
I wanted the Annyseed world to be real in some respect, a place
that a reader could jump in and walk around. So I decided to
make 3D models of the main locations for personal reference.
That way, the Annyseed universe would have a tangible quality,
like the "Simpsons" as appose to say, "Ren and
Stimpy," which has a more surreal, constantly changing
environment. Springfield does shift around a little, but the
locations themselves are quite solid.
I lay on the sofa and told my wife,
Tasha, everything I wanted to put into it, in a stream of consciousness.
Doing this helps me brainstorm, because Tash really gets into
it too and gives me 2 new ideas for every one I throw at her.
Thanks hun. Credit where credits due.- She came up with loads
of the Puzzlechin stuff.
I think it took about half an hour to come up with the story's
main backbone. This is always very loose at first, but I then
put together a chain of events which helps me come up with more
details. This usually takes a good few days, then after that
it’s the script and page breakdown.
Writing the script
Is where you get to do half your acting
as a comic creator, the other half is drawing the characters
movements and facial expressions. I write the script by playing
out the scenes in my head and imagining what the characters
would say and how they would react to what needs to happen in
the scene, for the scene to move forward. For example - Coldsteem
needs to remind Charlotte that he wants to speak to her in his
office. Not finding an appropriate time to do this, he has to
speak to her whilst she is with her friends. So he approaches
her fairly awkwardly. Now, Coldsteem is going to be a little
embarrassed about this, and so is Charlotte, so they are going
to be quite abrupt and to the point with each other. We don’t
want her friends to notice all this tension however, for plot
reasons, so we have to distract them a little. So now they become
more concerned with Coldsteems looks, or whether or not he has
caught them smoking or not. By thinking about what needs to
happen you roll the story along, and by thinking about how characters
would react to this you are keeping their acting genuine enough
to be believable.